If you are just starting out in the big wide world of blogging, then THE most important decision you will have to make is what you want to blog about, especially if your plan is to create a profitable site. This is where niche blogging comes in and why I thought it would be good to talk over a few things to help you.
It may sound straight forward to pick a subject to write about, but you’d be surprised how many people struggle with this decision. It takes time to build up a site, which can be demoralizing if 6 months down the line you decide that you want to switch topics and effectively start again. That is why it is so important to plan out your site and decide on your niche from day 1. Believe me, it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run!
Normally, when people start their first blog, it’s usually a personal blog where they write about themselves and their everyday experiences. This could include talking about their favourite hobbies, movies, books, university life, etc. usually a bit of everything. I started in a similar way with my first site and I know some of the other Bizzebee writers did as well.
Whilst this is a good way to get into blogging, it’s not a very effective way of building a profitable one. Whilst you may build up a bit of an audience, you won’t likely build up a significant one as you are writing about a whole host of different subjects. People won’t know if you are a movie critic, food writer, book reviewer, etc. Worse still, advertisers won’t know what you are about.
Niche blogging is where you select a single subject and stick to it. That way, when people come to visit your site, they know what they are getting. Advertisers will be much more likely to approach you to advertise their products/services that are related to your site and better yet, you will be able to build a bigger audience.
Picking Your Niche
So, now that you know that a specific subject is much better than lots of different ones, you can go and select yours, right? Well, there is a bit more to it than that!
Is Your Niche Popular Enough?
In order for your site to be a success, you are going to need to pick a subject that has an audience. After all, you could create the world’s greatest site on, let’s say, ‘Amazonian Blue Spotted Frogs’, but if only 7 people are interested in it, then is it worth it? Well not if you want to make any money from it!
The more people who are interested in your subject from day 1, the more people there are to market your blog to. They are the ones who will be your potential readers/customers, so make sure that you have a potential audience BEFORE you start.
Is Your Niche Too Popular?
You don’t want to pick an unpopular niche, but similarly, you don’t want to pick a subject that is too broad. There are billions of people interested in sport, but that doesn’t mean you should create a site on all sports. You’d be much better picking an individual sport (e.g. Football), or better yet an individual team. At least then, you will have narrowed down your niche to be more specific, which will in turn attract more interested people.
It’s good to pick a popular subject, but the more you can narrow down your niche within that subject, the better. People will see you as the go-to place to read about that subject.
It also helps to narrow down your subject when you are first starting your site. If you are too general, you won’t get a look in as you will be competing against much larger, well established sites.
Is Your Niche Shrinking Or Growing?
Everything is changing all the time. What was once popular a year ago may not be that popular anymore. Likewise, there are some subjects that are only just starting to become popular. You need to think about your niche and judge whether it is growing or shrinking.
For example, a site about board games would be a lot less popular than a site about video games. That’s because board games are much less popular (shrinking niche) than video games (growing niche).
You want to try and pick a growing niche if you can, as you don’t want to find a couple of years down the line that your audience has all moved onto something new.
It’s not always clear to tell how popular a subject is, so it’s good to do some research before-hand. This is where Google Trends comes in. This great tool lets you look at what people have been searching for online over the last few years. This can help you to see whether a niche is growing, shrinking or remaining stable.
Let’s look at the board game / video game example from earlier.
It’s pretty clear to see that we were right about these two industries. Board games (blue) are clearly a shrinking niche, as year on year their popularity has fallen, only spiking at Christmas time. Video games (red) one the other hand have remained reasonably stable over the years, again spiking at Christmas time.
Hopefully this just shows that you can use Google Trends to see how popular a subject has been over time.
THE Most Important Part About Niche Blogging!!!
Lastly, THE most important aspect of choosing the right niche for your site is YOU!!! You are the one that is going to be doing all the work, so you need to be passionate about the subject. Like I say, it takes time to build up a site from scratch, so if you love what you are writing about it makes it a lot easier.
What influences you when picking a niche? What tools do you use to do research (if any)? Please let us know below in the comments section.
Matt Smith is a professional blogger and the founder of Online Income Teacher, a site that teaches you all about setting up a website and running it online. When not creating new posts and tutorials for his sites, Matt loves watching the latest sport and cooking up some tasty food.
You can follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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